Report outlines important work of Human Trafficking Commission, highlights next steps in stopping modern day slavery LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has released the 2015 Michigan Human Trafficking Commission Annual Report to the governor and legislature, highlighting the important work the commission has accomplished and setting the stage to continue the fight against this form of modern slavery. “Human trafficking has been one of my top priorities since taking office. The challenging nature of these cases require a focus on the victims and the desperate circumstances they find themselves in,” said Schuette. “And my office has worked closely with law enforcement across the State of Michigan to prosecute traffickers in our state and put an end to their trade.” Over the last year, the Human Trafficking Commission worked on the following: Developed recommended legislative changes involving human trafficking, including increasing the penalty for sex traffickers and allow victims to clear prostitution-related juvenile convictions; Began development of expanded human trafficking training videos to educate medical professionals on the mental and physical signs of human trafficking with the Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland County Medical Societies ; Gathered information to assist victim service agencies identify safe locations for human trafficking victims; Identified grants for local and state law enforcement, medical professionals and others to assist in countering human trafficking. The full 2015 Michigan Human Trafficking Commission Report is available at the bottom of this press release. The next meeting of the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission will be on April 26, 2016, followed by meetings on July 27 and November 2, 2016. Michigan Human Trafficking Commission In 2014, several bills recommended by Michigan's first-ever Commission on Human Trafficking passed the Michigan legislature and were signed into law. The Commission-recommended bills included measures to provide ‘safe harbor' for victims of human trafficking, strengthen the tools of law enforcement to hold traffickers accountable, and, 2014 PA 325 created a standing Michigan Human Trafficking Commission within the Department of Attorney General to continue the work of the first Michigan Human Trafficking Commission. The Commission is comprised of representatives from government, law enforcement, medical professionals and advocates. Human Trafficking in Michigan Second only to drug trafficking, human trafficking is the fastest-growing and second-largest criminal industry in the world. Victims of human trafficking are in bondage through force, fraud or coercion, solely for the purpose of sex or labor exploitation. Children are especially vulnerable, and existing data sources strongly suggest that the current reported human trafficking statistics do not provide a complete picture of the prevalence of human trafficking in Michigan. Upon taking office in 2011, Schuette launched the state's first Human Trafficking Unit in the Attorney General's Office to prosecute human traffickers under state law. Since 2011, eleven people have been charged with human trafficking by the Department of Attorney General. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also had an active presence in human trafficking cases in Michigan. In October of 2015, 19 underage victims were recovered and 12 pimps were arrested in the Detroit metro area as part of the FBI’s Operation Cross County IX. Schuette served as one of ten attorneys general nationwide selected to lead the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Initiative on Combating Human Trafficking, called Pillars of Hope. Schuette works closely with his colleagues to craft a coordinated national strategy to combat human trafficking, including efforts to prosecute offenders, assist victims, analyze the impact of this crime and raise public awareness nationwide.
Schuette Issues 2015 Human Trafficking Commission Report